Monday, November 14, 2011

Pacing myself through the week AND letter from Mission President

Familia! I love you as usual!

I feel like I do a good job at pacing myself throughout the week to get here to P-day.  Things happen so fast! The day to day can be slow at times, but here we are again, another week down! Tomorrow is week 23.  We are quickly approaching the 25% mark! That is substancial! And as Katri so clearly announced we are now in the "teens" of months left. My question is is there a noticeable dent in the flag jar yet? Today is one month left in MC and 41 days until the phone call!

So here comes the blow by blow with all of the painful details included letter. Stop me if the details are too much.  

We should of course begin at the end of last week's email! I GOT PACKAGES. Highlights include: my Texas cup and Buccee's t-shirt, TAKE 5!!! OREOS (note:while the oreo is in no way comparable to Mommy's cookies the quality of the factory made Oreo far surpasses the factory made cookies here), Reese's eggs, my General Conference Talks and football schedule chart and an inordinate amount of other food. I love being spoiled my Mommy and Nannie. 

Something I forgot to mention last week we saw a man, shirtless, with his chest hair shaved into the form of a cross. Not a cross into the hair but the hair into a cross. Scary. We as a church were falted for only having hymns as well! What we lack are "alabanzas" which are basically pop songs that say Jesus lots. Some include fun music videos. I should write to President Monson. 

One of the best things for me to see as a missionary is an investigator progressing and getting baptized and continuing to progress.  You may remember Javier who we baptized 10-sept.  Well he continues to progress! He attends the institute like class held weekly here, studies the scriptures, has a copy of Predicad mi Evangelio and plans to go on a mission in a year.  I love studying the scriptures with him and talking about these plans. Also he is hilarious.  I promised him that if he went to the mission and was honorably discharged at the end that I would fly him to Texas for a few days. 

Let's talk real quick about my 5 MONTHS in the mission. Elder Tarver and I splurged and bought a Tres Leches cake. Whoa that was good. Note the photo. I ate my first 6 pieces Tuesday night and the other 4 Wednesday for lunch. Still trying to decide if it is better than America's tres leches or not. 

On Wednesday we tried some door to door, we were excited to find new people to teach and the first door that was opened to us was the strangest man ever. His name is Julio Cesar.  Not only did he have terrible hair and logic but he just didn't comprehend what he believed. From the beginning we thought he would be positive because he told us he thought God was angry so we thought we could work with that but then quickly he told us that he doesn't like praying, reading scriptures, or going to church but likes to listen to the word of God but that he doesn't like talking about it and doesn't want to change but wants to follow Christ but didn't want to listen to us.... WHAT?!?!? I was so sad leaving that house because that man is so sorry and pathetically confused.  He recognized us as representatives of Jesus Christ but didn't recognize that when he rejects us he rejects Him.  

Elder Tarver and I often think of the apostles of Jesus when we have some difficulty. At times it is like Luke 9. At the end after being rejected by a city the apostles ask Jesus if they should call fire down from heaven to burn the city as did Elisha.  Jesus said no....but at times we feel like asking permission to call down fire to burn the wicked who don't want to understand.  I honestly don't fault people for not letting us in or not listening to us.  But after we are able to enter the home, sing, pray and bring the spirit in and explain our purpose and they then reject us, or worse they understand our purpose and just don't want to change or do what is necessary to find out if what we teach is true. That makes me sad. 

Thursday we had Zone Conference and the thing that gave me more ánimo to get out and find new people to teach was something Elder Valle (ZL) read to us at the end. We all know well Preach my Gospel but this section was important to me this week! Chapter nine talks about finding people to teach and the last section of the chapter is called No Effort is Wasted.  It talks about no matter what happens none of my energy and time spent with people is wasted because one day they will be prepared to receive this message. Something that I try to do to help me understand this is think about what I have learned from the investigators we have dropped and who we have found from working in that area. I think that at times the Lord wants to teach the missionaries so he lets us spend time with a particular family or individual.  I need to keep learning!

Friday we got some great news! Presidente called me and told me that the baptism of Hermano Santos has been approved by the First Presidency! Also I have been authorized to go to wherever he his to do the baptism whenever I want! The only problem is is that he is far away in a remote town until January and he wants to wait until he returns to Teguc. We'll see what happens. I really don't want to lose this family. Elder Cotton and I worked so hard with them and Elder Tarver was a part of the waiting process with this military service issue. 

Let's get down to the best parts of the week.  We have a wedding and baptism lined up for next week (24/11).  We found that a member (more or less active) had been living with a guy for 7 months and that they wanted to get married. He hadn't been to church in that seven months but wants to change and get his life on track. He speaks great english and wants to get married and baptized.  His name is José Angel.  How boss is that?

Also Saturday we had the greatest find ever.  We met one of the señores de los buses of the colonia, Wilfredo.  The following are quotes from him: I love stake and general conferences, the missionaries taught me lots in Salvador, I went to church, I know the Book of Mormon is true, You need to teach my brother, I know the church is true but he doesn't.  Not to mention that he offered us free bus fare forever on his two buses and he wants to get married and baptized. We will be verifying the validity of these statements in the very near future and we are hopefull! Free bus fare! 

We had a baptism on Saturday.  Fran y Kevin. Two teenagers (13 and 15) living with Hermana Alistra for many months. 

Church attendance was good. We had 48 total.  Climbing in averages. But we are not going to be organized into an official branch in the foreseeable future. 

Cool thing. The kids here go through phases of playing with random toys. In the rainy season it was tops, now in the windy dry season it is kites. They make them out of sticks and shopping bags and use sewing thread as the string. They are pretty impressive! I will try to get a picture out this week. 
 I love you lots family and always look forward to P-day. Let's not forget....only 41 days until the phone call! At which point I will have over 6 months! 

Mommy - I liked your card you sent with missionaries running from dogs. Except here we fit in with the culture. If a dog starts barking or trying to bite us we kick them or throw rocks. So far no running yet. They often slink away continuing to bark. 

Things I may need: 2012 Texas or American calendar, Burt's Bees...not much. You take care of me with the sauce mixes and oreos. I love whatever comes in the mail. Also the BYU Bball schedule that Dad will put in the next letter/package. 

Letters this week from Dannee (2), Kimi (with calculus!!!!!), Britta. I LOVE GETTING MAIL!!!

Love you lots. 

Your missionary still works hard and tries to earn his P-days.  


Elder Clay

also, shout out to Schmutz and Bro. Dale. Keep it real. 
"This house is now a home"

Letter from Presidente to Mommy:

Hna. Clay,
Estamos muy agradecidos por tener a su hijo en nuestra misión, Él es un extraordinario misionero, su ejemplo esta influenciando positivamente a toda la misión. El fue sobresaliente siendo un nuevo misionero y ahora como entrenador se esta esforzando mucho mas. Gracias por su sugerencia de elaborar un blog, trataremos en la medida de lo posible hacer uno para la Misión Honduras, Tegucigalpa.
Elder Clay me dijo que usted junto con otras familias se pueden organizar, para  mandar algunos regalos de navidad para misioneros que sus familias no les pueden mandar por razones económicas, esto sería de gran ayuda para muchos de ellos, ya que sus familias no les escriben y mucho menos les mandaran obsequios para navidad. Espero que eso no sea muy complicado para usted, y le agradeceremos con todo nuestro corazón lo que usted pueda hacer. Entre las cosas que los misioneros necesitan son: camisas blancas, calcetines, corbatas, artículos de uso personal como shampoo, desodorantes, crema de afeitar, rasuradoras, kits de costura, mochilas, paraguas, galletas dulces,  etc. y cualquier otra cosa que usted considere conveniente.
Gracias por su ayuda.

My translation:

Sister Clay,
We are very grateful to have your son in our mission.  He is an extraordinary missionary, his example is positively influencing the whole mission.  He was outstanding as a new missionary and now as a trainer is strengthening himself more.  Thanks for your suggestion to create a blog, we will try to do the possible to create one for the Honduras Tegucigalpa Mission.
Elder Clay told me that you with other families can organize yourselves to send Christmas gifts for missionaries whose families can't send them gifts for economic reasons, this would be a great help for many of them for their families don't write to them and they won't send them gifts for Christmas.  I hope that this isn't complicated for you.  We will thank you with all of our heart for what you can do.  Some things that the missionaries need are: white shirts, socks, ties, personal items like shampoo, deoderant, shaving cream, razors, sewing kits, backpacks, umbrellas, cookies, etc. and whatever else you see fit.  
Thanks for your help.

Presidente Hernandez

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